During the Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, The Center for Family Justice is presenting The Clothesline Project, a poignant display of messages of support and empowerment painted on t-shirts by students at both of Stratford’s public high schools and children in Monroe.

The two Clothesline Projects are part of several events that CFJ– which serves victims of sexual violence and abuse in six local communities–will hold at The Stratford Library and Wolfe Park in Monroe as part of its Sexual Assault Awareness Month observances.

The Clothesline Project (CLP) is a program started on Cape Cod in 1990 to address violence against women. Women impacted by violence were given t-shirts for decoration as a way of expressing their emptions in an anonymous, but powerful way. They then hung the t-shirts as a form of testimony on the problems of violence against women. The CLP has since become a worldwide phenomenon and CFJ has supported similar projects in Monroe and Trumbull.

For the Stratford version of The Clothesline Project, students at Bunnell and Stratford high schools were asked to paint t-shirts with messages of support and solidarity for victims and survivors of sexual abuse. Their work is on display at the library through the end of the month.

“We are so grateful that the Clothesline Project has come to Stratford and thank the Stratford Library for giving it a prominent place in the community during Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” says Debra A. Greenwood, President/CEO. “Now, more than ever, these messages of support and empowerment from victims and survivors need to be heard. It is important for people impacted by sexual violence and abuse to know we stand with them.”

As for the Monroe project, Greenwood thanked Kathy Maiolo, vice chair of CFJ’s board, as well as CFJ staff members Tina Fitch and Amanda Posila for their work on bringing the project to that town on April 22 and 23 for the second consecutive year. “It is so important to spread this message in all the communities we serve,” says Greenwood. “The response and enthusiasm we saw in Monroe was so impressive.”

Greenwood added she was particularly pleased at the role Stratford students played in that town’s project. “It’s important to have our young people involved as they are key to breaking the generational cycles of abuse and violence,” she said.